Arizona Science Center trains teachers in Northern Arizona - AZEdNews
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Arizona Science Center trains teachers in Northern Arizona

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  • Shannon Sowby/Arizona Science Center

 Through a grant of nearly $250,000 from the APS Foundation, Arizona Science Center’s Center for Leadership in Learning has partnered with four school districts in northern Arizona to bring valuable teacher, leader and community professional development to rural communities.

“High-quality teachers are the key to impacting student learning,” said Chevy Humphrey, Arizona Science Center president and CEO. “Access to professional development is the number one factor in increasing teacher quality, and all of these districts have expressed a strong desire for quality professional learning and development for the benefit of student learning.”

 120 teachers from four districts in the region are participating, including Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District, Humboldt Unified School District, Williams Unified School District and Winslow Unified School District. Training focuses on the areas of Common Core State Standards, teacher mentoring and coaching, standards in teaching, and best practices in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

“This program comes at a critical time for educators,” added Humphrey. “Budget cuts in the region have deeply affected schools, which puts teachers’ support at risk.”

Expert staff from the Center for Leadership in Learning, the teacher and educational leadership professional development and training arm of Arizona Science Center, are spearheading the trainings and coaching, which  are taking place over the course of the year. At the culmination, teachers will participate in a best practices institute, which will allow each district to showcase its progress.

“Advancing STEM education in Arizona is a top priority for the APS Foundation,” said Julie Coleman, Executive Director of the APS Foundation. “We value the opportunity to partner and assist Arizona Science Center with its teacher development program that will train and support teachers in increasing their quality teaching and improving students’ knowledge in STEM subjects.”

Training is customized to each school district’s unique needs and focuses on specific areas of improvement that have been identified so that participating educators are aided in areas that will bring the biggest results for their students.

“Our engagement with the APS Foundation and company volunteers is allowing for meaningful learning experiences for students and a unique synergistic partnership between an informal learning institution, business and educators,” stated Dr. Sharon Kortman, vice president of learning at Arizona Science Center and executive lead on this project. “Our model creates both support and accountability for teachers and allows them to increase student inquiry and problem-solving ability through real-world challenges.”

About the Center for Leadership in Learning

The Center for Leadership in Learning became part of Arizona Science Center in the fall of 2011. Its mission is to advance quality teaching, educational leadership, parent and community engagement for student learning. Content areas of emphasis include the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, STEM, Standards in Teaching, Standards in Leadership, and Mentoring and Coaching.

About Arizona Science Center

The mission of Arizona Science Center is to inspire, educate and entertain people of all ages about science. The Center, located at 600 E. Washington Street in downtown Phoenix, features more than 300 hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, the state-of-the-art Dorrance Planetarium and a five-story IMAX® theater. For more information, visit or call 602-716-2000.

About APS Foundation

The APS Foundation is committed to making an impact in Arizona communities and does so by supporting nonprofits throughout the state that advances knowledge in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. The Foundation supports a range of STEM programs including a signature initiative that focuses on supporting teachers by developing content knowledge in the STEM subjects, as well as strong pedagogical skills. The goal of the Foundation is to best equip the next generation of Arizona’s workforce and keep the state strong and competitive.

Privately endowed by Pinnacle West Capital Corp. in 1981 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, the APS Foundation distributes funds through a bi-annual grant process. Since its inception, it has invested more than $31 million in Arizona nonprofits. For more information, please visit